Easter snuck up on us, huh? I don’t remember when it’s ever been this early, although that’s more a problem with my poor memory. Not only did the holiday pop up quickly, but so did the end of this month. One good thing about the speedy passing of time is the fact that a number of fantastic vegetables are at the farmers markets because Spring has officially sprung. California is a land of riches when it comes to produce, so we’ve had peas, asparagus, leeks, artichokes, radishes, fennel, mushrooms, carrots, and more throughout the year. If they’re just starting to show their pretty little heads where you live, pick them up. All of them! And try your hand at this vegetable tart as we move into Easter weekend.
Late last year, I developed several recipes for a vegan Instagram channel, and one of them was cauliflower cream. I wanted this tart to have a white base without the extra fat from milk, heavy cream or butter, so I went back to that cauliflower cream recipe. This is a simplified version with Greek yogurt and olive oil adding velvety body to the sauce. And those spring vegetables? Let’s see…Handfuls of grassy asparagus, spicy breakfast radishes, anise-flavored fennel and sweet carrots are the stars of this show. For many, Easter Sunday is also a big day for the pig with a fat ham, glossy and glowing, at the center of the table. That’s why thin slices of salty prosciutto felt quite appropriate to add to this tart.
Maybe I’m going out on a limb by saying this, but I would consider this shaved vegetable tart to be a healthy recipe to add to this year’s Easter feast. If you’re vegetarian, omit the proscuitto. Vegan? No prosciutto, and swap cashew cream for the yogurt. There’s no butter; every layer of phyllo dough has been brushed with olive oil. Phyllo dough is so light, yet flakey, adding even more texture to each bite. It’s a nice alternative to pizza dough or puff pastry. Don’t be intimidated by phyllo’s delicate nature. Completely thaw the sheets, keep a damp paper towel nearby, and don’t worry if one (or a few) rip or wrinkle. You’re going for a rustic look with this tart, which gives you a lot of wiggle room. Enjoy the holiday weekend!
- 2 1/2 ounces cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons diced yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 2 ounces radishes, trimmed
- 2 ounces small carrots, trimmed, peeled and halved
- 2 ounces fennel, trimmed, halved and cored
- 3 ounces asparagus spears, trimmed, then halved widthwise and lengthwise
- 2 ounces prosciutto, torn into pieces
- 20 sheets (1 roll) phyllo dough, thawed
- Flakey salt, for garnish
- Place the cauliflower, onion and garlic into a small pot. Full with water just above the vegetables. Bring the water to a boil, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, approximately 7-10 minutes.
- Drain the vegetables, reserving a little bit of the water. Transfer just the vegetables to a blender. Add the yogurt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Blend until smooth and pourable but not runny, adding a bit of the reserved water about half a tablespoon at a time, up to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Transfer to a small bowl, and stir in lemon zest. Season with the salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly brush a sheet tray with a little olive oil. Set aside.
- Using a mandolin, thinly slice the radishes and carrots lengthwise. Slice the fennel into thin half moons.
- Lightly dampen a paper towel, wringing out any excess water. Remove the phyllo dough from its wrapper, and carefully open and unroll. Lift one sheet, and place on the sheet tray. Cover the remaining phyllo with the paper towel. Lightly brush the phyllo on the sheet tray with a little olive oil. Repeat with another layer of phyllo until you’ve brushed them all.
- Top with about 1/2 cup of the cauliflower purée. Save any remainder for another use.* Spread it evenly over the phyllo, leaving a 3/4″ border along the edges. Add the vegetables and prosciutto, arranging as you like. On each side of the tart, fold the edges of the phyllo dough over towards the middle. Liberally, brush the outer edges with more olive oil, then drizzle any remaining oil over the vegetables.
- Bake until the phyllo is golden brown, approximately 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle a little flakey salt on top. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.